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Investor sentiment, realized volatility and stock returns

Wafa Abdelmalek (Department of Management, Institute of High Business Studies, University of Sfax, Sfax, Tunisia)

Review of Behavioral Finance

ISSN: 1940-5979

Article publication date: 18 June 2021

Issue publication date: 24 November 2022

225

Abstract

Purpose

This paper examines the relationship between volatility, sentiment and returns in terms of levels and changes for both lower and higher data frequencies using quantile regression (QR) method.

Design/methodology/approach

In the first step, the study applies the Granger causality test to understand the causal relationship between realized volatility, returns and sentiment as levels and changes. In the second step, the study employs a QR method to investigate whether investor sentiment and returns can predict realized volatility. This regression method gives robust results irrespective of distributional assumptions and to outliers in the dependent variable.

Findings

Empirical results show that the VIX volatility index is a better fear gauge of market-wide investors' sentiments and has a predictive power for future realized volatility in terms of levels and changes for both higher and lower data frequencies. This study provides evidence that the relationship between realized volatility, investor sentiment and returns, respectively, is not symmetric for all quantiles of QR, as opposed to OLS regression. Furthermore, this work supports the behavioral theory beyond leverage hypothesis in explaining the asymmetric relation between returns and volatility at higher and lower data frequencies.

Originality/value

This paper adds to the limited understanding of investor sentiment’s impact on volatility by proposing a QR model which provides a more complete picture of the relationship at all parts of the volatility distribution for both higher and lower data frequencies and in terms of levels and changes. To the author knowledge, this is the first paper to study the volatility responses to positive and negative sentiment changes for developed market and to use both lower and higher data frequencies as well as data in terms of levels and changes.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

We thank the Editor and the reviewer for their valuable comments that had added substantial value to the paper.

Citation

Abdelmalek, W. (2022), "Investor sentiment, realized volatility and stock returns", Review of Behavioral Finance, Vol. 14 No. 5, pp. 668-700. https://doi.org/10.1108/RBF-12-2020-0301

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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